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How to mount your TV on the wall

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Mounting your HDTV on the wall is not difficult but it requires some precision and attention to detail. The main steps include the following (assuming you already have a TV):

  1. Get the right mounting bracket
  2. Complete pre-installation procedure
  3. Install /mount your bracket.
  4. Run wires

1. Get the right mounting bracket

In order to obtain proper bracket you will need to know two pieces on information. First one is the TV size in inches which you probably already know. 32”? 50”? Next piece of info is the TV’s weight. You can find it in the manual, item description of retailer, or if all else fails Google search the weight of you TV model. Once you have these numbers you are ready to get your bracket. All brackets should be build universally so as long as you fall within the giver parameters and limits you will be fine 99.9% of the time. There are three major types of TV mounting brackets. It is up to you to pick the right one for your needs. First kind is a full motion wall mounting bracket that can be used to extended the TV up to 24” from the wall on some models and can be turned in all directions if need. The upside is obvious, the ability to turn the TV in any direction and angle, however the down side is that they are 3-4 times as expensive than other mounting brackets. The second type of bracket is the tilting wall mounting bracket that is not used to extend the TV, but to turn it up or down in limited range. The upside of these brackets is that they are frailly low profile, but do not offer the flexibility. However they are priced the most frailly. There is a third listed type called low profile mounting brackets however there are only very few, so they are not even worth mentioning.

Don’t get sucked into believing that you will have to buy $200 bracket from stores. If you buy online you will get the same quality for half the price. I personally recommend Newegg or Amazon. Just pick your sizes and weights correctly and read few customer reviews and ratings.

Three types of brackets used to mount HDTV's on the wall - full motion wall mounting bracket, tilting wall mounting bracket, low profile mounting brackets

2. Complete pre-installation procedure

Once your bracket comes in mount the arms on the back of your TV. Make sure you use the included (should be included) thick rubberized washers that go between the back of the TV and arms. This will tell you two things. You will see how much you can move the arms up or down for finer adjustments; and once you attach the wall mount bracket you will find out how much you can move the arms sideways on the bracket rails. This information will be useful when mounting the TV on the wall as you will most likely not have wall studs exactly in the center of the place you want to mount your TV. Also take the note of the total width of the bracket. Most wall studs are placed 16 inches or less apart. If your bracket is 30 inches wide that means you will have additional 14 inches of sideways wiggle room. However I would strongly recommend mounting your bracket as centered between the studs as possible for added stability. If your wall is made out of the brick you will not have that problem. You can just put it where you want to.

Three types of brackets used to mount HDTV's on the wall - full motion wall mounting bracket, tilting wall mounting bracket, low profile mounting brackets

Finding the stud location on in the wall will be your next step. You can use a stud finder if you have one, and lightly mark the location of studs in the wall with a pencil. Make sure you mark only where your TV bracket will be going for best accuracy and so you can later just cover the marks us with your TV. If you do not have a stud finder you can start tapping on the wall with your finger and slowly move across the wall. The places with studs will have deeper and less hollow like sound. Mark those spots with pencil. If you used a stud finder of your finder it will be beneficial if you find the exact location of the studs. To do that, take a hammer and a thin long nail, about one inch in length and hammer it in the part of the wall that you think stud is located at. If the nail goes through easily there is nothing there, if you have to hammer it there is something behind the wall. Make a small hole every few millimeters you can manually confirm the stud location. Make sure you mark which hole has nothing behind it and which has a stud. By doing this you will not only confirm the stud location but you will be able to find most accurate center of the stud.

how to accurately pinpoint stud location in wall to mount your HDTV bracket

Keep in mind of what is behind the wall you want to put your TV on. If you have a bathroom or a kitchen there is a chance that water pipes may be hiding behind the wall. You may also find electric and cable wiring as well. If you are not comfortable taking a risk call a licensed professional to install the bracket for you. One way to find out if there is anything hiding will be to make a small hole in the drywall, right between the studs on which you plan to install the bracket, while making sure that TV will cover it up. Once you have the hold you can use a small mirror and flash light to look and see if there is anything in the wall. You can get a small round mirror on expandable stick at your local AutoZone. Or you can go more high tech and insert small USB webcam in the hole connected to your laptop if you have one. If there is nothing in the way you are golden, but if there is you have to be careful not to hit anything when you will be drilling in the studs.

If you have made a hole in the wall and you want to run your wires behind one as well this is the perfect opportunity to find out if you are able to run the wires and cables all the way down to where your receivers and players are going to be. (I am assuming you want to put your blu-ray, dvd or any other player directly underneath a TV in some sort of a stand) Some walls have a two by four running between the studs which many prevent you from running the wires successfully; in which case you can do one of two things. The easies will be to run the wires externally on the wall surface hidden is some sort of casing, preferably in the color of the wall (paint it if you have to). Second options will be to make a hole on the right and left side of the outermost studs you want to use to support your bracket and find out if there is anything in the way. Do that only if you are sure you can cover the hole up with TV or patch it later if this does not pan out. Make the holes as close as possible to the studs so you minimize the chance they will be seen. If you do not find a clear path to your receiver you are only left with option of running the wires externally (and up to three holes in the wall, sorry).

how can stud interfere with HDTV bracket mounting and wires

3. Install /mount your bracket.

Now that you have established, hopefully, that you will not be drilling into any pipes that may be hiding behind the wall, and you have found out where the estimate center of your studs is it is time to drill. Take your mounting bracket and hold it up against the wall. Mark the spots that need to be drilled. Keep in mind that the TV bracket is roughly in the middle of your TV so treat it as such. Don’t put it too high or too low. If you make a mistake you can always move your arms on the TV up or down few inches for more precise placement. Your mounting bracket packet should include few screws that are to be used in mounting your TV. These screws should be relatively long and thick with wide and deep threads. The included manual should tell you what drill bit size to use. It will be smaller than the diameter of the screw in order for the wood to grip the threads of the screw. Attach the drill bit to your drill and drill slowly at parallel (90 degree angle) with the wall. You do not need to drill all the way in, just the length of the screw. Once you have drilled all holes you need clean up the area of leftover drywall and wood. Put the bracket up against the wall and fasten the screws into the wall. If you have washers included use those as well. Do not go too fast and press gently. Tighten the screws, but not too much that you will strip the screw inside the wall. To assure that the bracket is on the wall firmly try pulling it off. It should not move at all.

4. Run wires

Next step is trying to figure out where to run the wires. If you have established that there is nothing in the way behind the wall to interfere with the wires you can start dropping them now. At this point you can create another hole on the bottom of the wall where the wires will be coming out of and into your video and audio devices. Make sure you have long enough wires to run from the TV input ports in the hole behind the TV all the way down out the receiving hole and into your devices. I recommend tying the bottom ends of each wire together and fishing them down the hold all at once. This way you will not have wires in the way if you want to fish more. Make sure you leave yourself enough wires and cables so you can run them to your TV’s input ports without having to stretch them a lot. Next step is to hang your TV on your bracket. Once you do that step back and see if the TV is in proper height and position. If not take it off and readjust the arms on the back of the TV until you find desired location. Once you have found the sweet spot you can run the wires. If you do not have enough room between the wall and back of the TV, you can have two guys hold it few inches from the wall while you attach the cables and wires to the back of your TV.

Now if you cannot run the wires behind the wall you are only left with the option of running them externally behind some cover or wire management device. Unfortunately that will not look as good as “wireless” option. I cannot give you a lot of advice on that since I have never done it that way. You are on your own.

Warning!

Some TV manufacturers will use shady tactics and build TV’s without predrilled threaded holes that are used with universal TV mounts. In this case you will have to purchase their wall mount that will most likely not have a lot of features and will cost more than standard universal mounts. Make sure your TV is compatible with universal wall mounts before buying any.


Alternate solution

If you cannot run your wiring inside the wall or your wall is solid brick or concrete there might be an acceptable solution. It is called a wall stand. Basically it is a thicker hollow black half pipe that runs from the ground up to your TV. They usually come equipped with three shelves on which you can put your devices and run the wires inside the hollow pipe all the way to the TV. It looks relatively good, it does require some assembly, and is priced about the same as the mounting brackets.

wall stand used to mount hdtv on the wall

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